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SSH Internet tunnel into Fusion, Vista: very slow

1908 Views 23 Replies Latest reply: Jan 9, 2012 7:11 AM by ctlow RSS
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ctlow Calculating status...
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Dec 2, 2011 7:03 AM

Can't find exactly this: I'm running Windows Vista through Fusion on my home iMac about 2 years old, 4 GB RAM, Snow Leopard.


I access that iMac from my MacBook Pro, about 3 or 4 years old, 2 GB RAM, Lion, through a very cool SSH VPN tunnel.


It is so slow as to be unusable. The rest of my iMac doesn' whiz along either, over the tunnel, but I figure that's just the Internet connection speed. But it's manageable, whereas Windows (inside Fusion) is glacial.


The thing is: it used to be faster.


Fusion is "bridge" networked.


I just upgraded this morning to Fusion 4 ... hoping ... but no improvement.


Anything obvious I could do to speed up Fusion-over-SSH closer to the speed of the native Mac side of my iMac?


All my 3 OS's are as up-to-date as possible, etc.


Thank you.



MBPro, 2007 Dec. -24" iMac 2.93 GHZ, 4MB RAM, 2009 June - iPhone 3G, 8 GB RAM, 2, Mac OS X (10.6.5), Airport Extreme Base Station, USB printer, wireless printer
  • MrHoffman Level 6 Level 6 (11,720 points)
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    Dec 2, 2011 8:24 AM (in response to ctlow)

    You're working with ssh port-forwarding. 


    A more traditional VPN typically provides the port forwarding and IP routing automatically.  (You're not setting up the forwarding for the individual protocols with the VPN.)


    Your connection sequence and your testing does imply that there's a performance issue with VMware fusion, with the virtual network configuration or operation within Fusion, or within the connection to Windows Vista.   (A virtual machine guest will typically use some form of emulated network or NAT or such provided within the virtual machine, as that's how the guest operating systems can perceive themselves as being connected to the physical network.)


    You could also test the performance of the same network path using a telnet connection, (that's port 23, and doesn't do the port-forwarding stuff) and see if that's slow.  The telnet path is unencrypted and credentials are in cleartext.  Unlike ssh.  But it's otherwise similar; if you see a slowdown with that, it's not ssh involved.  But if ssh is slow and telnet isn't, this might be the encryption involved within the virtual machine guest; within Windows Vista.


    Also test with an SSH connection and a telnet connection from another system on the local LAN.  Eliminate the remote network as a suspect.  (Though your existing finding that Mac OS X connection is fast tends to exonerate the remote connection.)


    Talk to the VMware Fusion folks.  This looks to be a case that would best addressed by the VMware Fusion support (and potentially their enginering) folks, and whatever documentation they have on setting up the virtual network, and then with VMware support.  (There's very little involved here of Mac OS X, and you've indicated you don't have performance issues when connecting ssh into Mac OS X.  This finding would tend to exonerate Mac OS X as the central culprit.)


    As an alternative you could test with, a gateway-firewall device with an embedded VPN server would be a reasonable test.  See if that runs any faster, as that would move the effort of the data encryption off of the virtual machine guest.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,905 points)
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    Dec 27, 2011 7:50 PM (in response to ctlow)

    ctlow wrote:


    Can't find exactly this: I'm running Windows Vista through Fusion on my home iMac about 2 years old, 4 GB RAM, Snow Leopard.


    I access that iMac from my MacBook Pro, about 3 or 4 years old, 2 GB RAM, Lion, through a very cool SSH VPN tunnel.

    You could add some RAM to that machine. Other than that, there isn't much you can do. If you are doing this over the internet you are limited by whatever upload speed you have at home. Usually, that is quite slow. Screen sharing over local ethernet is pretty slow. Plus you are taking graphics code optimized to run as fast as possible in a VM environment and shoving it all over that horribly slow line. That's just a mess.

  • Camelot Level 8 Level 8 (45,670 points)
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    Dec 29, 2011 1:05 PM (in response to ctlow)

    ...was that screen sharing over the Internet is variably slow


    Hang on, you didn't mention screen sharing in your original post. That adds a whole new dimension (and set of delays) to the mix.

    Screen sharing requires orders of magnitude more data/bandwidth that simple text-based transfers, so any networking issue is going to be magnified.


    What's missing from your tests is the screen sharing speed between the Mac and the Windows VM on the same LAN - i.e. what degree of latency is added by the internet connection.

    In addition, testing the screen sharing from the Mac side of things (i.e. on the same Mac, even though you could just flip to the Fusion window) will tell if there's high latency/delay in the Mac talking to Windows via the VM. If there is then it could be a matter of tweaking the Windows' networking configuration to work better across the VM bridge - it's possible, for example, that Windows is running with an MTU that's too high for the VM bridge/NAT environment and that's causing a lot of delay in communication between Windows and the host Mac, which is only going to get amplified over the internet.

    Thankfully, for me, it's been a long time since I've had to play with Windows networking setup, but I'd expect there to be some option for tweaking the network configuration somewhere in that mess of an interface.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,905 points)
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    Dec 29, 2011 8:09 PM (in response to ctlow)

    ctlow wrote:


    I do now find something in the Fusion help files about an internal VNC server, but I'm not quite following all of the terminology. I rather suspect that it wouldn't help me.

    I suspect that is exactly what you need.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,905 points)
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    Dec 30, 2011 8:58 AM (in response to ctlow)

    I believe you can use MacOS X Screen Sharing as a VNC client. In theory, you should be able to route the VNC connection over your SSH tunnel. That would be recommended as VNC isn't known for security - rather, it isn't known for good security.

  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (12,510 points)
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    Dec 30, 2011 9:22 AM (in response to ctlow)

    As etresoft says, you can use Screen Sharing as your VNC client (unless it is not a Mac you are going to and their VNC server does not play nice with your Mac :-) - if you do need a VNC client try "Chicken" as in Chicken of the VNC <>).


    As for connecting over the tunnel, you just use Finder -> Go -> Connect to server, and enter:




    Where 12345 is the local port number you specified for your ssh tunnel.


    I use this all the time for VNC to my Mom's 300 mile away iMac, for AFP file sharing across the internet, etc...  ssh tunnels can be very useful.


    Message was edited by: BobHarris

    iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 27" i7, MacBook, MacMini, etc...
  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (12,510 points)
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    Dec 31, 2011 2:20 PM (in response to ctlow)

    Could it be so simple that I add a bit to my SSH command such as : "-L 45678:localhost:5901", and that would get me directly into Fusion, and make my SSH-VNC tunnel faster?

    I just gave your suggestion a try, and it seems work work just fine.  See following image from VMware Fusion (v4)VMwareFusionVNCport.jpg


    NOTE:  The VMware Fusion guest MUST be running before the VNC server listens on the specified port.


    I enabled one of my VMware Fusion guests for VNC server support, giving it 5910 as the port, plus a unique 8 character password.


    I then started my VMware Fusion guest.


    I then went to another Mac in the house, and did


    ssh -L 12345:localhost:5910 myMacBookPro.local


    Then I fired up Chicken


    and specified




    and I was viewing my VMware Fusion guest

    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.2), 27" i7, MacBook, MacMini, etc...
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